Additional Staff

Support Staff

MARY HOPWOOD HEARNSBERGER, parish secretary, helps support the parish pastoral staff by tending to the needs of our parishioners and will happily welcome you to the parish office. Many of her duties include answering the phone, editing the bulletin, handling parish mailings, sacrament/event scheduling, and records retention. Mary graduated from Knoxville Catholic High School in 2003 and received a BA in Special Education from the University of Tennessee in 2007. She was born a parishioner of SJN, as her family have been members for over 30 years.


Ellie SanchezELIDE SANCHEZ-VALENCIA, SJN Business Manager, is a business professional with more than 30 years of experience in Management, Finance, Health Care, and Information Technology. She gained extensive financial experience in the private and public sectors in Mexico and the U.S., working for various companies such as AW Chesterton, Gerber Products, PepsiCo., TeamHealth, Nationwide Insurance and holding several directive positions in the Government of Mexico. She holds a BS degree in Computer Science and a business minor from La Salle University in Mexico City. Elide is originally from Mexico. She and her family moved to Knoxville back in 2000 and have been SJN parishioners ever since.


Marilyn DerbyshireMARILYN DERBYSHIRE received a certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Center for Youth Ministry Development and a BA in Theology from Spring Hill College. She has previously held parish positions as Director of Religious Education and Director of Family Life and has taught middle school religion in a Catholic school. Marilyn’s responsibilities at St. John Neumann are to coordinate parish faith formation for children and youth and to coordinate Parish and Family Life.



Sue MelhornSUSAN KULYNYCH MELHORN, Administrative Assistant, has home schooled her three children over a span of twenty years.  She holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration/Accounting.  Prior to home schooling her children, she worked as a budgeting and cost accountant at Carlisle Syntec Systems and Aqua-Chem.  Sue is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Knoxville and has been a parishioner of SJN since 1990.



Sr. Elizabeth W. Wanyoike "Sister Elizabeth"SISTER ELIZABETH W. WANYOIKE is a member of the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary Community and holds a Masters Degree in Religious Sciences from Gregorian University in Rome and a PhD in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. She has had a broad experience in giving seminars and retreats to different groups of adults. Sr. Elizabeth is our Coordinator for Adult Faith Formation, responsible for organizing, coordinating, and facilitating Adult Faith Formation programs. She also coordinates the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the parish.


PATRICK WADE, SJN Development, graduated from the University of Tennessee. Patrick previously worked in alumni affairs and major gifts fundraising at UT. In 2012 he joined the Pat Summitt Foundation, serving as executive director until July 2019. Patrick is responsible for seeking and obtaining funding to increase charitable giving to advance the mission of SJN Catholic Church and School. Patrick and his wife have two children: June and David. Patrick is thrilled to be part of the team at St. John Neumann, where he and his family are parishioners.


PEDRO GARCIA, SJN facilities, has many year of experience in facility maintenance and management. As facilities manager at SJN, Pedro is an essential part of the parish support staff in that he oversees just about every aspect of SJN’s 42 acres, including the church, school, and office building.

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